October 29, 2004 One of the leading pioneers in automated robot development is Tomotaka Takahash of the 'Robo Garage' at Kyoto University. Takahash has built the Chroino, Magdan and Neon model robots, which combine sleek, manga inspired design with cutting edge functionality and human like mobility. Following on from his work the Robo Garage has further developed the VisiON, ENRYU, robovie-R and GUNWALKER models.


The Chroino (a combination of "to chronicle" and "black," which is pronounced kuroi in Japanese) is a 35cm tall humanoid robot with sophisticated movements, powered by a lithium polymer battery. A newly developed "monocoque frame" covering is made of carbon and plastic, giving Chorino a friendly appearance, light weight and robust body. Using a new technology named SHIN-Walk, Chroino has the ability to move more naturally than traditional robots that walk stiffly with constantly bent knees. Indeed, it's smooth and rounded "manga" appearance and fluid movements are very reminiscent of cartoon robots like Astro Boy. The Chroino can walk, balance, play soccer, and even Moonwalk like Michael Jackson!


Magdan is the second prototype autonomous robot developed by Tomotaka Takahash. Following the manga theme this robot is made from aluminum and plastic with a gunmetal grey exterior that gives it a villainous appearance. It is 25cm high and weighs 400g, and seems to move a bit more awkwardly than the Chorino perhaps because of its adult size frame.


Neon is a humanoid robot that was exhibited in the celebration of the birth of Astro Boy, the legendary Japanese "manga." Standing 40cm high and weighing 1.3 kg, Neon was developed to narrow the gap between imaginary robots appearing in manga and real robots. The exterior is roundish and has a subdued color to make people feel comfortable with it in daily life. Neon walks majestically and with wide, stable strides thanks to electromagnets attached to the soles of its feet. This technology has also been applied to Kyosho's toy "Gunwalker", which is sold throughout the world.

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